UNSUB by Meg Gardiner


Meg Gardiner

The terrifying serial killer at the heart of Unsub is inspired by the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized California's Bay Area in the late 1960s before disappearing forever...

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A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.
Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

Advance Galley Reviews

A good book with excellent plot line and beautiful characters.

Holy hell! This book took me for a ride, tossed me around a bit, had me sitting on the edge of my seat and scared me! Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective get the opportunity to work the case of a serial killer that haunted the San Francisco Bay area more than two decades ago and now seems to have re-emerged. Her father was the original lead investigator back then and the case very nearly took his life, and broke up his marriage to Caitlin's mother.. The case pulls Caitlin in, discoveries are being made but the killings continue and they are getting increasingly more gruesome. Can the killer be stopped and what are his motives? I had never previously read anything by Meg Gardiner, but now I'm a devotee. This book is seriously good.

My first time with this author. Enjoyed his style and pace. Character development was also good. I will read more of his books. Strongly recommended.

I have to be honest and admit that "UNSUB" started out as a slow read for me. As it is pretty much action-packed throughout its entirety, it's a pretty safe bet that it was me and not the book. However, once I got into the book and past the first 100 pages, the only reason I was able to put the book down was because of prior obligations. Caitlin Hendrix spent six months as a Narcotics investigator when a suspicious murder takes place in her hometown Bay Area. The murder scene mimics that of a unsolved serial killer's from 20 years ago which drove Caitlin's father, now a retired cop, off the deep end and ruined her family. This mystery continues to haunt Caitlin and her family and when the police believe the killer may in fact be the same person, known as the Mercury killer, Caitlin is bumped to the homicide department because of her prior connections. I really liked Caitlin. She is greatly flawed and has the potential to become overly involved in the Mercury case due to its personal connections to her family and her father's demise as an officer. She has a very supportive boyfriend who works for the Feds and is best friends with his ex-wife. That in itself threw me but the relationships in the book really seem to work. The book had me guessing and I had no idea who the Mercury killer was until the book revealed it. I have to say the ending shocked me a tad. I knew this was the start of a new series but I figured each book would be Caitlin working on new cases. However, there is definitely a twist at the end and a cliffhanger that made me definitely want more. I've not read any of Gardiner's previous works but can see me picking up more from her in the future. I'm also now anticipating the next book in this series. If you love mysteries and psychological thrillers, I don't think you could go wrong with "UNSUB." I also need to add that this book actually gave me nightmares. I've always said humans are much more scarier that many of the monsters I read about in horror tales and this book definitely supports my opinion. I received this book from Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.

Unsub is a dark, evil, twisted psychological thriller that was an amazing on the edge of your seat read. It was hard to put down the story of the Prophet a serial killer who terrorized a city then disappeared only to reemerge years later to finish his Mission. His reign of terror had a profound affect on the family of Detective Mack Hendrix who was initially on the case ruining his health, his mental health, his family, career, and much more. Now that the killer has reemerge it is on Mack's daughter Caitlin once a Narcotics officer who is brought into homicide for the case due to her unique connection through her father. The Prophet on his dark Mission targeted Mack and now is targeting his daughter in his twisted fantasy of violent deaths. Will it destroy Caitlin as it did her father? Will it help her understand and forgive her father, or will Caitlin Hendrix fall prey to the Prophet before he is finally caught. This story will have you super sensitive and alert to your surroundings as you read it due to being far to realistic to dismiss. It is easy to see the parallels between this well written crime thriller and the true story of the 1960's of the Zodiac Killer, that inspired it. It was a fast read and intense thrill ride reminding me of the TV show Criminal Minds as well as some darker movies. It is easy to become enthralled and involved with the character and the inspirations and dark twist that drive the Killer and the storyline. This well written story was not predictable and as a crime thriller that made the need to find out who did it more of a mystery and yes there are a few key unexpected twist to the storyline. The emotional experiences of the victims, the community, the police involved and detective Hendrix shows the affect such a psychopath has with the fear he inspires. I highly recommend this to those who love Crime dramas and psychological thrillers, especially dark psychological thrillers. There is even a pull to this book for those who enjoy tie ins to literature as a motive. As a warning it is about murders; graphic, violent murders so be prepared for a great read and to be looking over your shoulder for awhile.

This one had me hooked from the very beginning. The suspense kept building knowing that there was a serial killer at large and the closer the team gets, the more is at stake. For her first big case, Caitlin does a great job and it's easy to see how she's so invested while following a killer her father tracked years and years ago. As she gets closer and the killings get closer together she risks everything to bring the killer to justice. The ending left me extremely disappointed that the story was over . . . for now.

This story kept me on the edge of my seat. I did not want to put this book down. There were so many twists and turns. I wanted to tell Caitlin to give up and stay safe but you knew she couldn't do that. This definitely did not disappoint me. I look forward to many more of Meg Gardiners books. I received an ebook copy from Firsttoread for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

A Penguin First to Read ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review. “Abandon all hope you who enter here” This book sucked me in. It was fast paced and the tension built and built. It was so frustrating and horrifying watching how easily a killer can slip by. The Prophet, inspired by The Zodiac killer, is terrorizing The Bay Area. Eleven brutal and horrific murders lately he all the sudden disappears. When two grisly murders happen 20 years later that have the Prophet’s calling card the fear that gripped the city then is even stronger than before. The apple does not fall far from the tree as Caitlin takes up were her father failed. She chases the Prophet’s trail into the depths of hell. She learns more about herself, and recognizes what the Prophet meant to her father all those years. With the most notorious killer on the loose in her backyard she struggles to balance between the hell he made and her life.

For five years in the 1990s, a killer the press dubbed The Prophet terrorized the Bay Area. He committed nearly a dozen murders and evaded capture. Like the best serial killers in literature (and like the real-world Zodiac killer upon whom he is modeled), the Prophet was brazen and clever. His crime scenes were staged, his victims were tortured, posed and mutilated. He left behind cryptic messages laden with symbolism (he signs them with the symbol for Mercury), but no usable evidence. He spread his crimes across multiple jurisdictions and taunted the police and terrorized family members by contacting them directly with details of his heinous crimes. He has a mission, apparently punishing people for perceived transgressions. Then he dropped off the radar. In the aftermath, Mack Hendrix, the lead investigator, spent six months in a psychiatric ward and he's never been the same since. His obsession with the case drove him to the breaking point and the death of his partner during the final known crime attributed to the Prophet pushed him over the deep end. Now, twenty-five years after the first murder, a new series of audacious crimes is taking place. Is it the same killer or a copycat? Many of the witnesses to the original crimes are now dead and some of the evidence has been lost or stolen by trophy hunters. Mack claims he destroyed his old notes, which were posted all over the walls of the family garage. His daughter, Caitlin, who was exposed to her father's single-minded pursuit of the unsub (unknown subject), followed him into law enforcement. Now, at 29, after seven years on patrol, she is a rookie detective. She asks to be detailed to homicide once the nature of the new crimes becomes known, despite her mother pleading with her not to get involved in a case that destroyed her father. However, she has valuable insight into the Prophet's psyche and, more importantly, a direct line to her father. This is the 21st century, so a lot has changed in the realm of criminal investigation, as well as in the scope of possibilities for criminals. The Prophet is tech-savvy, creating sophisticated booby traps and coming up with clever ways of keeping tabs on the investigation and investigators. He live-streams incidents over the internet, fueling frenzy in the city, and taunts investigators by calling in to live radio shows and issuing countdowns to the next incident. In chapters of three-to-five pages, Gardiner keeps the tension and stress at a high level throughout, never shying away from the killer's more dramatic and audacious tableaus, scenes of horrible torture and unrelenting sadism. Technology and the internet provide different possibilities for investigators, too. The original Prophet case from the 1990s generated a lot of interest—a number of true crime books were written about it—and websites and message boards dedicated to the crimes continue to draw activity. Caitlin enlists the assistance an "online expert" from one of the busiest message boards as a researcher, effectively crowd-souring the investigation. Her father, sidelined but still obsessed, uses the internet to taunt the killer. Caitlin is as gung-ho and zealous as her father in pursuit of this killer, and this doesn't evade the Prophet's notice. He escalates his crimes into a frenzy, with each one more shocking than the previous. He begins to target people close to Caitlin, telling her that every step she takes will make things worse for her and those she loves. The parallels between Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling are obvious. Clever and relentless despite the high stakes, Caitlin finally cracks the hidden code in he Prophet's messages and figures out his master plan, an elaborate fantasy with both religious and literary significance. This leads her to a climactic confrontation that reveals the truth about the killer and establishes a highly-anticipated sequel.

UNSUB is about a serial killer that first struck in the 90's. It is now twenty years later and the killer is striking again. Caitlin Hendrix is a narcotics detective whose father worked the case in the 90's and nearly lost his sanity. Caitlin remembers the case from her childhood and is determined to find the killer. Despite her fathers warning, Caitlin puts everything she has into the case, trying to decipher the killers' cryptic clues. This is the first time I have read anything by Meg Gardiner. I have to say I will be reading more by her after reading UNSUB. It hooked me right from the start and kept my interest throughout the book. I definitely will be reading more. Thank you to penguins first to read program for the advanced copy.

The first book in a new mystery series, UNSUB by Meg Gardiner is a high-octane police procedural about the search for a chilling serial killer known as the Prophet. When a gruesome murder scene appears to indicate the Prophet has inexplicably begun killing after a twenty year absence, homicide detectives turn to narcotics Detective Caitlyn Hendrix for assistance. Caitlyn’s father, Mack Hendrix, worked the original investigation so police hope she can offer insight into the current case. Caitlyn is soon hard at work attempting to solve the cryptic message the killer leaves behind but can she succeed where her father failed and bring the killer to justice? Caitlyn is incredibly smart but she is still an inexperienced detective. She also has a personal connection to the case which has the potential to cloud her judgment during the investigation. The first order of business is to figure out if the current murders are the work of a copycat and if not, why did the murders stop? Caitlyn is extremely focused as she attempts to figure out the meaning of the Prophet’s messages but she has made little progress when he strikes again. The investigation has barely begun as the Prophet claims more victims. The murders are increasingly violent and carefully staged. Caitlyn is having a difficult remaining detached as the pressure mounts to understand the reason for the murders. The case takes a personal turn when Caitlyn’s boyfriend, ATF agent Sean Rawlins, goes missing right after she finally discovers the Prophet’s motivation for the murders, the cryptic messages and the elaborate staging at the crime scenes. With very little information to go on, Caitlyn, Mack and the rest of the team are in a race against time to locate Sean before it is too late. UNSUB is an unbelievably fast-paced and engrossing police procedural. Meg Gardiner ratchets up the tension with back to back murders, enigmatic clues and increasingly grotesque staging at the crime scenes. The novel comes to an adrenaline-filled, pulse pounding conclusion that neatly sets up the next book in the series.

If you're a fan of Kathy Reichs, you'll love this book! The plot definitely kept me on my toes, and the characters were well-developed. I adore strong female heroines, and Caitlin did not disappoint! I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but still, I hope the author turns this into a series!

This is one crazy rollercoaster ride of a thriller that will have you rechecking doors, windows and watching for sunlight just to take the edge off from feeling like you’re going to jump out of your skin at every sound. Gardiner knows how to write an intricately detailed plot with appealing characters and a bit of a cliff hanger in the conclusion that you won’t see coming and will leaving you wanting her to deliver a sequel. The skill in creating such a terrific novel isn’t surprising considering she’s a veteran in the suspense genre so she’s had plenty of practice in delivering worthy stories. Unsub provides constant suspenseful action using the gruesome serial killer device making it difficult to put down thanks to the tension, broken psychology, unpredictability and realism. Even though it seems to be marketed as a stand-alone you can’t help but feel as if she is setting up her readers for a new series starring Caitlin. Here’s hoping that’s true and we’re treated to more of her chilling writing!

UNSUB sure kept me on my toes! I’m a huge fan of books about homicide detectives and serial killers and this did not disappoint! Meg Gardiner created a very creative killer and a very determined detective. I found the characters to be interesting and decently well developed. With each murder, the killer got more creative and brutal. I was fully into this the whole way through the book. This was the first book I’ve read by Meg Gardiner and after UNSUB, I’ll be looking for more! Great book!

I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review of this book. This book had me hooked almost from the first page! Meg Gardiner can turn a phrase and keep her hooks in you! Caitlin learns about the serial killer the Prophet while her Dad, Mack, is hunting him when she is just a kid. She grows up to become a Deputy Sheriff and follows in his footsteps. The Prophet is back after a 20 hiatus. Now it is up to Caitlin and the rest of the team to identify him, hunt him down, and stop him! This is a feat book and a must read!

I was really excited to read this but my copy on Adobe Digital Editions won't open. It says it has expired and I should still have 3 weeks to read it!

I was offered the chance to read this ARC from Penguin Books and First to Read. Meg Gardiner did a great job developing the characters and the plot line. I enjoyed the depth she provided and she did not disappoint with the thriller. I look forward to reading more from Meg Gardiner.

This book was fantastic! It's certainly not for the faint of heart but it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. It's brutal, gory, gritty and I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel!

This book was absolutely amazing!! So detailed and thrilling! It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! This is the first book I have read by Meg Gardiner and I want more!! I can't wait to see what the next book brings!

I had never heard of this author before, but as a big fan of thrillers, this book seemed right up my alley. I was glad to find out there will be a sequel, as the ending was not super satisfying. However, I will definitely check out the next book, and look at some of Meg Gardiner's other novels, as Unsub was fast-paced and enjoyable.

Huge Meg Gardiner fan and this absolutely does not disappoint! Without spoiling the plot, this basically works on the level of a serial killer thriller but also as a family in meltdown. Father and daughter,divided by a serial killer for many years both have to come together to find 'The Prophet'. Is he a killer based on the Zodiac murders,copycat of accolyte? The 'Unsub' was unknown when Caitlin Hendrix was a child, her father,Mack, was ruined both professionally and personally by his inability to bring him to justice. Will he share what he knows or leave Caitlin to pit her wits against the man who destroyed their family so long ago? 'Unsub' is a breakneck thriller that is perfect for a summer read.

I had this book for some time before finally having time to start it. I thought it sound good so I used points to guarantee I got it. Boy was it worth it. This book grips you from the get-go. I have always loved the crime novels that feature strong, independent, badass female detectives. This one reminded me of the lead character in Robert Dugoni's Tracy Crosswhite series. If you like this you'll love those. This was a gripping, breath holding, edge of your seat thrill ride! Midway through the climactic finale I found myself in tears. A little later it made me smile. Then, after I finished it all I could do was sit here saying, Oh God...I sincerely hope this is just the beginning of a long series. Caitlin Hendrix has the right stuff. And clearly, so does Meg Gardiner.

Unsub is the first book I've read by Meg Gardiner. She is an author I have always meant to read but never got around to. Now I definitely will. I flew through this book (once I got a few minutes to actually sit down and read it). I loved the main character, Caitlin, and how her past drove her desire to finish the case that "got away" from her dad. The book was tense and thrilling! I had no idea who the bad guy was and who was going to get caught in his crossfire. Sometimes thrillers like this seem to hit their climax and end quickly and abruptly. I did not find this to be the case for Unsub. I'm hoping this isn't the last we see of Caitlin!

In UNSUB, Meg Gardiner weaves a thrilling story about a 20-year-old serial killer, the Prophet, who has come back to continue his game. He is killing again and taunting the police with his enigmatic messages. Only now, his focus has centered on Detective Caitlin Hendrix, daughter to Mack Hendrix, who years earlier worked the original case until the Prophet taunted Mack into a mental breakdown and a medical retirement from the police force. I was riveted by this story from the first page to the very end. Ms. Gardiner can string words together that are both exciting and engrossing. This book was a “can’t put it down” story that I actually went back and read bits and pieces to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I highly recommend this for those who enjoy thrillers. Because that’s exactly what it is: a THRILL to read!

Many thanks to the Publisher and Penguin First to Read for the opportunity to read! As a fan of shows like Criminal Minds I really enjoyed this book! Though the book was heavily inspired by the Zodiac Killer and the concept itself was nothing new, this was a page turner for me from the very beginning. Caitlin's character is not loveable and she's a bit contrived. Other characters in the book are not particularly memorable either, but the story itself is good and entertaining. I couldn't put it down and appreciated the fact that I could not easily figure it all out. I will definitely read book two!

Meg Gardner knocks this one out of the park. Caitlin is a strong lead character and you are rooting for her the entire time. The twist at the end is somewhat predictable, but overall a great read.

Sadly, this one didn't do anything for me. It added nothing to the genre, relying on well-worn tropes. The killer is rip-off of the Zodiac killer. The main character is picking up where her father left off. She's a strong woman who can only date men in simila fields because they're threatened by her. You truly can imagine the rest. Gardiner does show promise in her pacing, and her development of the main character. If you pick this up, you will finish it. And there's a lot to be said for that. Getting readers to continue to read a couple hundred pages is its own accomplishment. I will look for her future works, to see how she develops. My thanks to the publisher and First to Read for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Caitlin Hendrix is called in to help after the Prophet, the serial killer who killed her father's partner and ruined his law enforcement career and his mind, starts killing again after 20 years. The Prophet seems to be connected to Mercury and astrology. He also taunts the police relentlessly and seems to know their every move. Will Caitlin be able to find the Prophet and save the lives of countless people in San Francisco before he pulls his final act, or will he take her down and the ones she loves too? I really enjoyed this book, but a few things were over the top for me. However, it's a solid read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes hardcore thrillers. Not exactly for the squeamish.

I've not read anything by Meg Gardner previously, but am a huge fan of Alex Kava's Maggie O'Dell series, police procedurals, shows like Criminal Minds, and true crime anything. In this book, Gardner has created a thrilling, chilling, and slightly gory tale that feels like you've stepped into a Criminal Minds episode. I found myself drawn into Caitlin's world and hoping against hope that she would catch the Prophet before another murder had taken place. I was rooting for Caitlin, Sean, and hoping that her father would find redemption in helping to catch the killer. This book is pretty intense and leaves room at the end for a potential sequel, for which I will be watching.

What a fabulous, chilling, gory, unputdownable book. I loved every page. I raced through this book at lightening speed, unable to stop reading because of the need to know how it was all going to work out in the end. And it was worth every moment spent flipping pages. Seriously amazing. Caitlin was fascinating, as was her father, Mack. I enjoyed getting to know them, discovering what made them tick and what ultimately unraveled him and what drives her. For both of them it's The Prophet. For Mack it's his failure to apprehend him, and for Caitlin it's the need to. And so begins a game of cat and mouse that is awesome to behold. The murders and the crime scenes are grisly, the Propher was one unhinged fellow. And the police work is fascinating. I love reading about this process. I highly recommend this book to lovers of police procedurals, twisted serial killers and books that you simply cannot put down until you've turned the last page. This was a stunner!

I really enjoyed this one. I have never read anything written by Meg Gardiner before picking up this book but after reading the description, I knew that I would have to give this book a shot. I am very glad that I did. The books opens with a lot of excitement so I was immediately hooked. There was never a moment where I felt like I wanted to put this book down even though I had to every once in a while due to various responsibilities including my job and other such boring things. This was one of those stories that really got into my head and didn't let go until I got to the last page. The Prophet killed one person after another, sometimes more than one at a time, before suddenly stopping over twenty years ago. He was never caught and he killed his victims in different ways so that it was hard for the police to get ahead of him. Mack Hendrix was one of those detectives tasked with catching this ruthless serial killer. He was never able to catch the murderer and the case ended up destroying his life. Caitlin, Mack's daughter, became a detective even after everything her father has went through. She has worked in narcotics but as soon as a murder occurs similar to that of the Prophet, she gets a call. Is it a copycat or could the Prophet be back? She is highly motivated to catch this killer but also fears losing herself in the case as her father did. I really liked the characters in this one. They just all felt really authentic to me. Caitlin seemed like she really cared about her job but she worked hard to have a life outside of it. I really felt that all of her emotions during the case were very well done. Sean was amazing. He knew exactly how to be supportive without being overbearing. I thought that Sean and Caitlin were wonderful together. The secondary characters were equally well done. I thought that the mystery was exciting and pretty complex. This wasn't one of those books where you figure out what is going on early on. I don't think I ever figured anything out before the author wanted me to but I never stopped trying. All of the descriptions in the story really helped bring the story to life. I would highly recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers. This story does involve a serial killer so there are a few more graphic scenes as you would expect in this kind of story. I am really looking forward to future book in this series. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Penguin Group Viking - Dutton Books via First to Read.

Wow! Twisty, deep, and sinister. Grips you and drags you down into the depths of hell, literally. At times I had to stop and take a breath even as I wanted to read right through to the end. Caitlin was a deeply flawed, passionate character who I was surprised by how much I identified with. She was smart and strong but had a deep vulnerability she couldn't quite hide that made her relatable. Instead of the usual hard as nails, almost ruthless lady cop who takes no ones crap, we get to see the nerves, anxiety and bravery Caitlin uses to follow this killer down his crazy rabbit hole. I liked the twist in the cliffhanger and can't wait to met up with Caitlin again in the next book.

Thank you, Penguin and First to Read for the opportunity to read this ebook. This was interesting from the beginning. It started off well and ended well. The characters were complex and had real oomph. It really made the storyline easy to read because the main character, Caitlin was terrific. Her background and her history with her father was most interesting to read about. I really liked the authors' spin on the Zodiac Killers case from the 70s. It's very terrifying, but it was a good base for an excellent storyline. I will definitely be reading more from Meg Gardiner.

Although the plot and characters were a bit formulaic, I enjoyed reading this face-paced thriller. It was well-written, and I look forward to reading the implied second installment.

4/5 stars I'm a huge unsolved mysteries buff. Constantly watching videos about them, reading books, etc., but fiction novels inspired by them can be so hit or miss with me. Sometimes it comes off as too close a copy where you just cut and paste different names or places, but Gardner's Unsub does not fall victim to that trap. The killer here is completely his own beast, with his own motives and personality when dealing with the police and press. Obviously anyone can see the connections drawing to the Zodiac Killer (that's also on the billing) but it can stand on its own just fine. The characters are very well written and I especially enjoyed Mack trying to redeem himself and what ended up happening with him and the reason behind his actions. My only real complaint is the use of countdowns. It's frustrating, because like in movies and shows it's always a cheap way to up the ante, while completely unrealistic. The space between actions seems much too long for the minute that it is supposed to be happening in. I just wish the action could come to a boil with some other, not overused, technique. That's where the -1 star comes from, unfortunately.

Fast paced. Full of twists and turns. Great read.

This is such a fantastic book by Meg Gardiner. A twisted psychological tale that follows Caitlin Hendrix, a detective following in her fathers footsteps. That takes a more literal turn when the same killer that consumed her father's life has returned and is back with a vengeance. Now she must work to save the lives of the innocents, as well as fight to reclaim the sanity stolen from her father. This story follows the narrative of Caitlin, who has a great story-line and voice. I felt like I could easily identify with Caitlin, and she was instantly likeable. I do wish the reader had a little bit more context on her outside life beyond the killer. However, this is easily overlooked. Overall this was a 9/10 for me. Good plot, good narrative, compelling story and characters. Definitely looking forward to the next book in the series if there is one! *Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing the ARC for a review*

A reimagining of the Zodiac Killer, The Prophet has terrorized the Bay Area for decades. After disappearing for 20 years, he's made a reappearance and has begun killing again. Caitlin, whose father worked on the original case, is one of the main detectives. The Prophet uses her close connection to the case to draw her in . . . I was surprised by how long it took me to get into this book. As a true crime fanatic and lover of thrillers and mysteries, I didn't think this would be an issue. No matter how compelling the plot is, the poor writing kept me from enjoying the book entirely.


Thank you First To Read for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review. I just finished Unsub and I'm already thinking about the next book. Wondering how long before it's out and who will be in it. 5 star books aren't easy to come by. Thank you Meg Gardiner for this one. The characters, plot, believability, pacing and originality were all on point. Caitlin made a great MC. Looking for a serial killer named the Prophet that ended her father's career and changed their lives. She was determined to find him. There was something about the Prophet that had me a little scared. Had my heart beating a little fast in a way I love while reading psychological thrillers.

I read a lot of thrillers and true crime. I especially enjoy books about serial killers. I've long been a fan of Patricia Cornwall, Kathy Reichs, and loved Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs. Unsub was a very good read and would be excellent for fans of these authors. I can see the characters of Caitlin and boyfriend Sean making a comeback in a series. The tension built at a steady pace and I found the clues based on Dante's Inferno to be another big draw, possibly for Dan Brown readers.

I received an ARC of 'UNSUB' by Meg Gardiner. This was one of the best mystery/thriller novels that I've read is more than a year. Caitlin Hendrix as a junior level detective is asked to join a murder investigation because of her father's experience when he failed to catch 'The Prophet'. The development of Caitlin and her father are excellent, however the other members of the investigative team are somewhat lacking. The pace of the novel is that of a thriller with action coming faster with each scene. The author adds enough suspense and clues to allow the novel to be looked at as a mystery as well but the psychological aspects which are constantly present with Caitlin and her father Mack along with how 'The Prophet' plays with the detectives is very well done. The end of the novel set us up for a sequel that I look forward to reading. This is one of the best thrillers that I've read and I would give it five stars.

Caitlin Hendrix knows the cop's life like she knows the cuts on her tattooed arm. She grew up the daughter of a conflicted detective, Mack, who chased and failed to catch The Prophet, a serial killer who takes a 20-year break only to come back just as Caitlin is making headway as a detective herself. He draws her further into his web with each killing, threatening to turn her into her father--a bitter man still obsessed with finding him and consequently who has turned everyone who matters to him away. This thriller hits all the right spots for those who like their fiction fast-paced and tightly plotted. Gardiner has many novels under her belt--and this is a real departure from her earlier work in terms of style. But she deftly takes the reader through story and sets it up for the sequel. Great read. You won't be disappointed.

Heart-pounding psychological thriller. The writer put a lot of obvious attention to the research that was required to make all of the pieces come together on this one. The intricacy between the killer’s motivation and how the author was able to keep everything flowing smoothly is truly impressive. This was an excellent read. It hits all the right buttons for a murder mystery/cop thriller. A likeable, complex protagonist who is struggling with the ghosts of not only her own past as a cop’s daughter, but with her father’s inability to capture and stop The Prophet. The killer has been dormant for 20 years, just long enough for our protagonist, Caitlin to grow up and find her own place in the department. Then tragedy strikes, and she gets sucked back into the world of the Prophet, having mostly put it from her mind after stumbling upon her father’s murder room where he kept all his research into the case. The killer is now fixated on Caitlin and determined to suck her and everyone she cares about into his world. The pace is fast and tense, ebbing and flowing at just the right moments to keep the reader on the edge of their seat without burning them out with constant build up. When someone Caitlin truly cares for is taken from her can father and daughter come together one last time to find the man that’s been in the periphery of their lives for decades? Complete with a surprise twist at the end, Unsub is intense from start to finish and should be on your “must read” list.

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner is the first novel by the author I have had the pleasure of reading but I will definitely be checking out her other work as well. This fast-paced thriller hooks you from the first page and doesn't let go. Caitlin Hendrix grew up hearing about the Prophet since she was a little girl because her father was a lead detective on the case. Unfortunately, The Prophet disappeared after a disaster happened at the last crime scene that sent her father to a psych ward. Twenty years later, Caitlin has followed in her father's footsteps and has become a police officer and a murder has occurred that has the Prophet's signature. Caitlin has to use her own intellect and her father's insider information to hopefully break the case and catch the killer. Emotional, gripping and creepy, this story will stay with you and make you lock your doors at night. Definitely recommend.

Unsub is definitely an on the edge of your seat thriller. I read it in practically in one sitting because it was impossible to put down. It’s one of those books that never slows down and it leaves you anxious - in a good way! - as you read it. It’s not for the squeamish and it’s not for those who like everything resolved in the end. Caitlin Hendrix has followed in her father’s footsteps and become a police officer. Her father, Mack, was a homicide detective and Caitlin is a detective working narcotics. When Caitlin was a child, her father was obsessed with finding a serial killer, nicknamed the Prophet, who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area for five years, taunting Mack and leaving a trail of gruesome murders and broken lives in his wake. The case landed Mack in a psychiatric hospital for six months and destroyed his marriage and weakened his relationship with his daughter. The killer was never arrested. Over twenty years later, two bodies are discovered that bear the Prophet’s signature: the sign for Mercury. Is the Prophet back after two decades of silence or is this a vicious and cunning copycat? Caitlin is transferred to the homicide division to assist in tracking down the killer. The killer leaves disturbing and cryptic messages at the scenes like the Prophet did in the 90s. He also is killing in pairs which is another hallmark of the Prophet. When he starts to reach out to Caitlin directly (as the Prophet did with her father), the homicide team can’t deny it is a strong possibility that the Prophet is really back and has made Caitlin the focus of his attention. Caitlin seeks out her father for help since he is the expert on the Prophet. At first, he dismisses her and tells her to walk away from the case. He does not want her to end up broken like him. Eventually, and after the killer starts contacting Caitlin, Mack is more cooperative, giving her everything he has on the Prophet. It is still an uneasy alliance but Caitlin needs his help. She also has help from her boyfriend, Sean, who is an ATF agent. She assures them that she will not let the killer get inside her head and turn her pursuit of him into an obsession. Easier said than done... So often with thrillers, the characters read like cardboard cutouts. Thankfully, that is not the case here. I really like the characters - they feel very real and flawed. The writing is first rate and the tension is through the roof. The story is very clever and it exceeded my expectations. There are a few things I could nitpick but there is nothing major except the cliffhanger ending. Cliffhangers drive me nuts. It feels like this book is setting up a series and I really hope so because I really want to read more about these characters. This was my first book by Meg Gardiner and it most definitely will not be my last. Highly recommended for serial killer thriller fans!

This book grabs you from the first paragraph and never lets go!!!! The plot has twists and turns, the characters are interesting and dynamic. It was interesting to see the relationship between father and daughter improve throughout the novel. It took both of them to solve this case in which the father had been investigating for years.

It's pretty obvious this book is a Zodiac inspired nightmare, but that's ok. It was an exciting read with a strong female lead, which is rare for a book about serial killers. It's not my typical genre, but it was engaging and easy to read. I'd definitely recommend it to my reader friends.

This is one of the creepiest books i have read since Silence of the lambs. Don't want to provide any specifics because you should know almost nothing when you start reading it. Just enjoy. Five stars. Looking forward to her next book

Meg Gardiner's new book UNSUB is fantastic. It's filled with strong characters, plenty of action, and so many edge of your seat moments that I lost count. Detective Caitlin Hendrix has just gotten home after an evening raid by her drug task force team when she is summoned to a crime scene. Once there Homicide Sergeant Guthrie escorts her to the victim. It is there that she sees the killers mark. The Prophet has returned after a 20 year absence. The Prophet who on his first go round was pursued by Caitlin's father Detective Mack Hendrix before Mack went over the edge and tried to kill himself. Now Caitlin must try and stop him before he kills more innocent lives and before he drives her down the same path as her father. Author Meg Gardiner has created something eerie and evil here with The Prophet, and when matched against the smarts and determination of Caitlin Hendrix should make UNSUB the book everyone is dying to read this year. ??????????

This was an amazing thrill ride! It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I loved every minute of it. I would read anything else she wrote!

Thank you First to Read for the opportunity to preview "UNSUB" by Megan Gardiner. A young woman, Caitlin Hendrix, grows up knowing that bad things happen. Her father was a lead investigator on a serial murder case and she knows that there are many twisted and psycotic people in the world. Her father was broken by "The Prophet" - a killer in the bay state area. Her father never solved the case. Twenty years later, Caitlin herself is a detective. When a series of killing starts, she begins to wonder if they are related to "The Prophet". Will she be like her father - never successfully closing these murders and be driven to madness....or will she become obsessed chasing a ghost of a killer. This is a good crime novel, somewhat predicable, but a good summer read. I didn't find anything really different about this book and that was a disappointment. Characters are developed and plot is steady. Great Beach Read!

I don't think I've read any of Gardiner's previous books, and after reading this one, I think I will continue that trend. It's not bad; it's just pretty blah. I've read a lot of similar books to this one that were much better written and had much more interesting plot points. The ending was also very frustrating and seemed to come out of nowhere (and not in a good way). The whole book just felt very cliche and mediocre. I would not recommend.

Meg Gardiner sets the pace early and it continues with every page you turn. The protagonist is smart and tough as nails with an undercurrent of vulnerability that gives Gardiner's characters their edge that makes you fearful of their fate and hopeful they'll succeed in finding The Prophet. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and I dare you to try and put it down. A fabulous crime thriller by one of the best.

This was the first book that I have read by Ms. Gardiner and I found myself drawn into the book by the end of the first chapter. I thought that the character development was very well thought out and the pace of the book kept me glued to my seat. I will be interested in following this character in the follow up book and see how it finally ends. If the rest of her books are as well written as this one was I will be looking for more by this author. I received an advance reading copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a fair review.

I received an advance reading copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a review. Detective Caitlin Hendrix finds herself facing a serial killer thought long gone. Lured into the same case that ruined her father's career, if not his life, she must find a way to stop the Prophet before he ruins hers, or ends it. Fast paced and full of twists and turns Unsub will keep you turning pages and wondering what will happen next. The action and psychological aspects blend to create a great book.

Caitlin, having grown up watching her dad fall apart after failing to capture Prophet, a serial killer, becomes a police detective herself. After 20 years of quiet, the Prophet returns to strike again and Caitlin is allowed to be on the team, mainly because she has access to her father and everything he knew. I was surprised by a few of the main parts of the storyline. Caitlin, with her supervisor’s approval, teams up with a woman who runs an online community dedicated to the Prophet. Now, in many books, Deralynn, would have been the main character as the novice detective and struggling to get the police to give her information. Why would an actual detective work so closely with a civilian? It made no sense. The second issue I had with the book was when the investigators realized that the Prophet was referring to a book, instead of finding an expert on it, they went out to grab several copies of the book and spent the weekend reading it for themselves. Why? This is the Bay Area. There are several excellent universities with scholars that could provide expert advice regarding the book and about the Prophet who relies on it. (Please note I am not mentioning the source document as, if you don’t guess it on your own, it is a major plot point and would be a spoiler.) It isn’t like this police force hasn’t already looked outside their ranks for assistance. Asking the reader to overlook these issues is a bit much and I expected more from Ms. Gardiner.

This is the first book I've read by Meg Gardiner but I look forward to reading more of her books. Caitlin Hendrix was a child when her detective father worked and failed to catch the serial killer the Prophet. Twenty years later and the serial killer has become active again and Caitlin is transferred from narcotics to homicide to try to finish the case her father couldn't solve. I enjoyed the book and thought it picked up speed and got better and better the further along you got in it. It appears this is going to be the start of a new series and I look forward to reading more about Caitlin and Sean.

This is the first book I have read by Meg Gardiner, and it certainly won't be my last. She throw the reader right into the story and keeps you wondering what happens next up until the very end. And that ending! I can't wait to read more of what happens next.

Gardiner pulls no punches. The reader is not eased into this story, but plunged in to an icy bath of tension and not a little horror. It starts with a trauma, though not an actual murder, then fast-forwards twenty years. Caitlin Hendrix is a tough character with a touchy and complicated family situation and the intensity you find only in rookie homicide cops. She also has a heavy legacy hanging over her head. Gardiner writes her with sensitivity and gives her a full range of dimension. As the tension in the story builds, so does the tension in Hendrix's relationships. A big win for the author is how she takes only a chapter to introduce you to the Prophet's victims. It's enough to let the reader get to know them and feel their fear and mourn them when their lives are snuffed out. While the story was inspired by the Zodiac murders, it wholly stands on its own. Gardiner is a force to be reckoned with.

This was the first book I read from Meg Gardiner and will definitely not be the last. The sheer intelligence and creativity in the novel is astounding. The book had me enraptured from beginning to end.

I have read almost all of Meg Gardiner's books and this one did not disappoint. Like all of her novels, there's no slow build - the action ramps up right away and never stops. It reads like an action/thriller movie, which is a good thing. It also reminded me a lot of "The Silence of the Lambs," not in a copycat way, but in terms of the evolving plot and relationships. My only slight negative was I felt that the California serial killer plot was a bit "been there, done that," but then I watched the episode of "48 Hours" about the Golden State Killer while in the middle of reading this and that made it seem all the more real. Obviously the first in a new series, it provides a good introduction to main character Caitlin Hendrix and other supporting characters. The partial cliffhanger ending means I'll be anxiously awaiting the next installment.

This book is amazing! I have been wanting to read Meg Gardiner for awhile and was excited when this came up for review, since I could read her without being behind already in series. The characters have real flaws, responses to stress, and reactions to the twists and turns that come up through the story. I enjoyed this book a lot and will be happy when the sequel arrives.

What a great book! Had me sucked into the story right from the beginning. Especially where Caitlin was counting down how much time she had left, had me on the edge of my seat. Very suspense full!!

I basically read this book in one sitting. It really kept me on my toes with its creepiness. It's the first time in a long time I literally felt scared while reading (though I must admit some parts felt a little unrealistic). I was a little disappointed that the ending was set up for a sequel when I thought this was a stand-alone novel (and GoodReads doesn't show anything about a sequel). Still, I would definitely read a sequel if there is one!


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